Barcelona are under heavy scrutiny for their role in El Caso Negreira. During a tax investigation, it was discovered that the company owned Enriquez Negreira, former Vice-President of the Referee’s Committee, had been receiving payments from Barcelona for 17 years.
It has been implied by many that they may have been paying for refereeing favours from Negreira, but former referee Albert Gimenez has defended the honour of the referees. He did reveal an interesting theory on what the payments were for to Cadena SER though.
“For me he has something, I don’t know what, from Barcelona that the club has preferred to silence. If not, those threats that he made through burofax cannot be mad e if you don’t have something strong behind them. And I connect this with that Mr. Contreras. who left as president of the Catalan federation, and is on trial. To me this sounds like were people who have wanted to empty the accounts, or some of the accounts, of FC Barcelona. It is a complicated plot to uncover. In the end, the referees have taken the s***.”
In his mind, the payments were a cover up, but not for influencing the referees.
“I think this comes from before: he already knows something to blackmail the club from before, he starts talking to the Barca directors and they come up with this about the refereeing reports. It’s putting a little bow on it to make it look cute. But there’s not even a contract. It’s crazy. From a movie, to laugh at how everything has been done.”
At this stage it does appear to be purely speculation, but if there is one thing that dominates the matter, it is unanswered questions. Gimenez has admitted that Negreira put pressure on him, but referees in general, including Gimenez, have defended their honour as referees.